Teenager Goldthorp’s double helps Leeds bring down Tigers again
Fran Goldthorp had already announced herself a rising star with a try in Leeds’ Challenge Cup final win over Castleford in July, but here she claimed a delightful double to defeat the Tigers again and hand the Rhinos the Women’s Super League title.
The 16-year-old was only called into Adam Cuthbertson’s side earlier this year due to an injury crisis, but she has now made her mark in the two games that mattered most. Thus, Leeds, coached by men’s first-team player Cuthbertson, were left celebrating a double.
“Fran is an absolute natural talent and has got that athleticism that you can’t coach,” said Cuthbertson.
“She took her moment and really shone. She’s one we’re going to have to keep an eye on as a rugby league community because she’s brilliant at everything – at rugby union and a great cricketer.”
Castleford soon led when winger Maisie Lumb dived over in the right corner to cap a fine flowing move. They breached Leeds’ defence again soon after as Rhiannion Marshall found centre Lacey Owen and she forced her way over.
Leeds got off the mark in the 13th minute when Hanna Butcher’s flat pass sent centre Abby Eatock galloping down the right channel.
Leeds continued to moved through the gears after the break and Goldthorp scampered clear to score inside the left channel before soon claiming her second, although replays appeared to suggest she was held up by Hollie Dodd.
The Rhinos struck again when Elle Frain touched down, while Kelsey Gentles took Georgia Roche’s pass to hit back for a third Castleford try, but the night, and indeed the season, belonged to Leeds.
Tigers coach Lindsay Anfield admitted: “Leeds do the basics really well and I have no complaints.” Castleford Tigers T Stanley; M Lumb, L Eastwood, L Owen, K Gentles; G Roche, G Field; S Peach, S Hoyle, H Dodd, T Renouf, R Marshall. Subs S Watts, E Lumley, F Townend, E Slow. Leeds Rhinos C Beevers; S Nuttall, A Eatock, C Kerrigan, F Goldthorp; D Anderson, T Gaines, A Johnson, A Staveley, C Booth, P Webster. Subs K Bennett, E Frain, D Priim, E Oldroyd.
Referee Greg Dolan
Flying winger: Leeds’ Fran Goldthorp, 16, goes over for her second try